Clipstone proved too strong for visiting Dronfield in their NCEL Division One opener in a bruising game that saw six yellow cards and one red shown.
The home side did very well to keep their heads during a tough-tackling affair, but once they had settled down, they were the only team who were going to get anything from the game as Dronfield ended the afternoon with 10 men, Clipstone manager Chris Millington delighted with his team’s performance against his former side.
Clipstone could and should have taken the lead in the second minute, as Dan Wood was felled inside the area and a penalty was awarded. But Jamie Smith stepped up with confidence only to smash the ball high over the bar.
The referee did his best to keep the play flowing, playing advantage as often as possible.
This was the case on 39 minutes,when a good advantage was played as Clipstone’s Dan Wood was allowed to play on after being fouled by Jon McCloughlin on the halfway line.
Wood ran on strongly to the left edge of the area, cut inside his defender and with a powerful shot to the far post curled the ball past the helpless keeper to put the hosts 1-0 up.
The referee then came back and shown a yellow card to McCloughlin.
Clipstone had the bit between their teeth and soon doubled their lead. Dronfield’s keeper Adam Ledger took a mis-directed goal kick straight to the feet of Clipstone’s Jamie Smith who took one touch and then sent the ball back towards goal with interest with no keeper in sight to give Clipstone a 2-0 half-time lead.
Dronfield’s tough tackling continued throughout the game, which should have cost them more in terms of goals conceded, if only the Clipstone set piece takers could have produced a little more quality.
However, from a throw-in adjacent to the left edge of the Dronfield penalty area, taken by Brandan Shaw, the ball looped high into the middle of the area in between a defender and Jamie Smith.
The defender inexcusably let the ball bounce and Smith got his body in the way, and with his back to goal looped the ball over the keeper’s head and into the roof of the net.
Both managers started to protect their respective sides by using substitutions as replacements for the players already shown a yellow card.
Then in the 90th minute a classic handbags situation erupted after William Earl had left a foot in on the Clipstone defender.
A number of players got themselves involved from both sides, Charles Bradwell was alleged to have thrown a punch at Nick Siddons and he was shown a straight red card after a discussion between the referee and his assistant.